Objective: To review the uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination among hospital health care workers (HCWs) in Australia to date.
Data sources: We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE (up to September 2010) and bibliographies of relevant reports for studies examining seasonal influenza vaccination (uptake, attitudes and/or programs) among Australian hospital HCWs. Studies relating to pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza vaccination or other types of health care facilities were excluded.
Study selection: 15 articles were assessed, of which 10 met inclusion criteria.
Data synthesis: The 10 studies were conducted between 1997 and 2008 and reported vaccination rates of hospital HCWs of 16.3%-58.7%. Two of three studies documenting uptake rates of > 50% were associated with active implementation of vaccination policies or interventions. Uptake rates by occupational group ranged from 29% to 58.3% for physicians, 19% to 56.4% for nurses, 23% to 57.7% for allied health professionals, and 18% to 66.7% for ancillary or support staff. Coverage rates in hospitals that provided the vaccine free of charge to staff (with or without an informational campaign) were no higher than in other hospitals.
Conclusion: While seasonal influenza vaccination uptake was higher in hospitals with documented intervention programs, coverage is still low and does not appear to be affected by the provision of free vaccine to staff. State or institutional policies or mandates are likely needed to increase HCW uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination.